Fashion brands’ virtual worlds are expanding past a single location.
Fifty-year-old accessories brand Claire’s launched on Roblox on Wednesday with ShimmerVille, an interactive world experience that features homes, cars, pets and retail jobs. That’s on top of outfits and accessories, which are popular entry points for fashion brands launching on the platform. The featured ShimmerVille pets and other accessories will also be available in Claire’s brick-and-mortar stores next year, with some already available in store.
Claire’s debuted ShimmerVille in partnership with interactive media company Wonder Works Studio, which has previously worked with Forever 21 and Puma to create virtual worlds on Roblox. The experience will have six interconnected destinations in the game: Central Park, Pet Park & Orb Store, Claire’s C-Style Mall, Claire’s Café, Bungalow Valley and The Galleria. Each will allow for a different customer experience. Central Park features live events at an amphitheater, and the Pet Park and Orb Store will let customers trade their ShimmerVille tokens to buy a pet companion that can be dressed up. Claire’s C-Style Mall will replicate a mall experience, with home furnishings, beauty treatments, clothing and vehicles available to purchase in-game. Players will be able to eat at Claire’s Cafe and build their own house in Bungalow Valley. The Galleria is a place for the brand’s future collaborations with other brands and influencers, featuring partner events and experiences. The partnership with WonderWorks is not a one-off, as the brand plans to work with the company to expand and add to ShimmerVille in the future.
The expansive Claire’s world in Roblox is the start of the brand’s journey in engaging its key demographics of Gen Z and Gen Alpha. “We’ve been on a journey at Claire’s, from a brand strategy perspective; we’ve been really thinking about what those generations are doing in their lives and where they’re going. We want to be everywhere that they are,” said Kristin Patrick, Claire’s CMO. “Over the course of the last couple of years, we’ve branched out into other distribution channels [to meet those customers].”
Apart from its own stores, Claire’s is also available through Amazon, Walmart, CVS, Asda, Tesco, Matalan, Galeries Lafayette, Toys R Us, DSW, Hudson’s Bay and Albertsons, among other retailers. Since 2019, the brand has undergone a modernization strategy across retail and marketing, resulting in 70% annual sales growth in global concessions in 2021.
Winnie Burke, head of fashion and beauty partnerships at Roblox, said that phygital products are a great starting point for brands interested in gaming, but unique brand products give brands an edge. “Our typical recommendation is that brands focus on authentic content that adds value and complements what our community is already doing,” said Burke. “Rather than just recreating what fans already love about the brand in the physical world [like popular physical products], there’s an opportunity to create unique offerings and develop ideas specifically for community engagement and even co-create them together with our community.”
Beyond ShimmerVille, Claire’s has more collaborations and partnerships exclusive to Roblox to come. “We called it ShimmerVille because we believe there’s something bigger [on Roblox] for Claire’s and that this is a new piece of intellectual property for us. We see over time that some of the content, like the pets, will be included as characters and products in the stores,” said Patrick. “A lot of the products that you can use to dress your avatar today are actual products within Claire’s stores. We worked with our merchants to pick some of our best-selling items [to] put them into the game.”
Consumers will also be able to buy new products from Claire’s in Roblox on a monthly basis, said Patrick. Moving forward, Claire’s will link its in-store loyalty program to ShimmerVille, with tokens available to exchange for in-store credit and vice versa.
“We have our e-commerce experience and the next step was to put the brand in the metaverse,” said Patrick. “Our consumers are there and they’re very digitally focused. ShimmerVille is the perfect representation of Claire’s brought to life; it’s the ultimate form of self-expression and builds on our expanded brand direction.”